By WAYNE ALLEN
PDT Staff Writer
The Girl Scouts of America turn 100 officially on March 12. Girl Scouts from across America are using this year of celebration to reflect on where they have been as an organization and where they are going.
Locally a number of activities have been planned to mark the occasion.
“On Sunday, March 11, we are having a 100th anniversary celebration for area Girl Scouts at Camp Molly Lauman,” said Angie Roberts a longtime Girl Scout volunteer. “Some of the activities we will be doing include a fashion show with old uniforms. There will be a tour of the century building. The century building is the oldest cabin at the camp. We will be singing old Girl Scout songs, among many other activities.”
She said the event will also serve as a kick-off for a time capsule that will be placed at the camp.
“In the time capsule we will have pictures, video recording of the girls talking about what they like most about Girl Scouts,” said Lisa Potts, another longtime Girl Scout volunteer.
Girl Scout history in Scioto County can be traced to the 1930s.
“A lot of hard-working people have put these events together. Sunday is going to be a big deal for the girls, it’s going to be a great time. We felt, since Monday is the 100th birthday we wanted to do something on that day,” Potts said. “Angie has a large collection of Girl Scout memorabilia and we wanted to be able to display that in a manner that was fitting of the 100th anniversary.
We told our idea to Southern Ohio Museum and they were thrilled to be a part of the celebration. They opened up on a day they are typically closed (Monday) for us to do this.”
She said the museum will have a display starting next week representing Girl Scout history. The display is expected to be up for two weeks.
On Monday, March 12, from 4 to 6 p.m. there will be a reception inside the museum. During the reception, a county commissioner will be in attendance and the mayors of Portsmouth and New Boston is scheduled to attend.
For Potts, Girl Scouts is a family tradition.
“My mom was involved in planning the 50th anniversary celebration and now here I am helping to plan the 100th. I think that says a lot about Girl Scouts and what it means to people,” Potts said. She said her daughter is in her first year of Girl Scouts.
This year marks the 30th year for Roberts as a Girl Scout leader.
“I started in the fall of 1981. I had 34 girls the first year we started. At the time, Stockdale school did not have any Girl Scouts. Now some of those girls are leaders of their own troops,” Roberts said. “It’s nice to see another generation coming through Girl Scouts,” Roberts said.
Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low began the organization to gather girls of all backgrounds into the outdoors, giving them the opportunity to develop self-reliance and resourcefulness.
According to the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, Gordon Low encouraged girls to prepare for traditional homecoming and for roles as professional women and to perform community service. She founded the Girl Scouts upon the belief that all girls should be given the opportunity to maximize their physical, mental and spiritual abilities.
Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts during a turbulent time in women’s history, just eight years before women gained the right to vote. The Girl Scout movement caught on quickly throughout the nation. Troops were first organized in Ohio in 1916.
From Girl Scouts’ earliest days, troops have focused on developing girls’ skills, with a focus on community service and social action. During World War I, girls learned about food production and conservation, sold war bonds, worked in hospitals, and collected peach pits for use in gas mask filters. Girl Scouts also welcomed girls with disabilities at a time when they were excluded from many other activities in the early 1900s.
The famous Girl Scout Cookie Program began in December 1917, when a troop in Muskogee, Okla., baked cookies and sold them in their high school cafeteria as a service project.
With membership increasing rapidly, by 1918 the organization relocated to New York City. By 1920, in just eight years, there were nearly 70,000 Girl Scouts nationwide.
Girl Scouts led community relief efforts during the Great Depression. During World War II, they assisted the war effort by operating bicycle courier services and invested more than 48,000 hours in Farm Aid projects.
By the 1950s, the Girl Scout movement was well-established with 1.5 million girls and adult volunteers. A special effort was made to include the daughters of migrant agricultural workers, military personnel, Native Americans, Alaskan Eskimos, and the physically challenged. They also made significant efforts to desegregate camps and maintain racial balance. Martin Luther King Jr. described Girl Scouts as “a force for desegregation.”
During the social unrest of the 1960s, Girl Scouts’ National Board openly supported civil rights and hosted “Speakout” conferences in a nationwide effort to combat prejudice.
Over the last decade through today, Girl Scouts continues to reinvent itself to meet the needs and interests of today’s girls. The Girl Scout program underwent major changes with the introduction of The Girl Scout Leadership Experience, featuring the National Leadership Journeys and the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting in the last few years. Complemented by the Girl Scout Cookie program, Girl Scout travel and Girl Scout awards, the program is designed to help girls develop as leaders and build confidence by learning new skills, including financial literacy. It also ensures that Girl Scouts at every level are sharing a powerful, national experience — girls together changing the world.”
Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council, headquartered in Columbus, serves more than 30,000 girls with about 800 in Scioto County and more than 9,000 adult members and volunteers in 30 counties: Adams, Ashland, Coshocton, Crawford, Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Gallia, Guernsey, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Knox, Licking, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Union, Vinton, Wayne and Wyandot.
For more information, call 800-621-7042 or visit www.gsoh.org.